Padre, who has been on the roster all season but made his just his second career start for Arizona on Sunday, drove home pinch runner Hunter Pace from second base with the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the 10th.
Senior Bill Rhinehart started the late rally with a leadoff single to right and was replaced at first by the speedy Pace. After a foul out by Brad Glenn and hit by pitch to T.J. Steele, Padre lofted Liberty reliever Tim John’s 1-0 offering into short center field for a base hit.
Pace rounded third and narrowly beat Derek Bennion’s throw to the plate to hand UA its fourth walk-off win and its 10th one-run victory of the year.
The Flames, who had been outscored 32-5 in the first two games in the series, jumped out early by stringing together four straight two-out hits off of UA starter Mike Colla for a 5-0 edge in the second inning. Shawn Teufel delivered a key two-run single and Kenneth Negron added a run-scoring triple to put the Flames ahead.
The lead didn’t last long though, as Arizona pulled within two at 5-3 in the bottom of the second on a leadoff solo home run by Bill Rhinehart, his career-high eighth of the season, and a two-run homer by T.J. Steele, his third blast of the series and his seventh of the year, two batters later.
A ground out by Padre and pop up by Dwight Childs handed Liberty two outs in the frame, but starter Michael Solbach struggled to get himself out of the inning. The right-hander allowed a two-out base hit to Robert Abel and then threw away a pickoff attempt at first base to move the Wildcat shortstop to second.
Solbach then struck out Diallo Fon for what would have been the inning-ending out, but the strike in the dirt scooted to the backstop for a wild pitch to allow Fon to reach and Abel to advance to third. Solbach then compounded his troubles by balking in Abel to make it 5-4 and tipping a come-backer by Colt Sedbrook off his glove for a run-scoring infield single to tie the game.
Padre’s game-winning hit made a winner out of reliever Daniel Schlereth (2-0). The left-hander tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in the ninth and 10th to pick up his second win of the year.
The Wildcats, who completed their out-of-conference slate with a 25-6 non-conference record, will return to Pac-10 action for the remained of the regular season next Saturday-Monday when they host USC for three games at Kindall Field. First pitch for the series opener on Saturday is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Current Streak ?- Won Four
Last Week ?- 3-0
May 4 ?- vs.
May 5 ?- vs.
May 6 ?- vs.
May 12 ?- vs. USC ?- 7 p.m.
May 13 ?- vs. USC ?- 6 p.m.
May 14 ?- vs. USC ?- 12 p.m.
Player of the Week Nomination
T.J. Steele, Sophomore, OF,
Sophomore T.J. Steele handed in a career weekend at the plate to help lead
In Friday’s 16-2 win, Steele went 4 for 5 with a double, a RBI and a run scored. He topped that in Saturday’s 16-3 win with a pair of home runs, a career-high five RBI and three runs scored and finished the contest 5 for 6. His first home run, a three-run shot in the first inning cleared the 35-foot high batter’s eye in straight away center. His second HR, a solo shot in the third, marked his first career multi homer game. He wrapped up the fine weekend by going 2 for 3 with his third home run of the series, a double, two RBI and a run scored. Steele, who has hit seven home runs this season for
Pitcher of the Week Nomination
Preston Guilmet, Sophomore, RHP,
Sophomore Preston Guilmet (9-1, 1.68 ERA, 110 K), a Roger Clemens Award candidate and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, tossed seven shutout innings in a one-hit start against Liberty for his ninth win of the year. The right-hander held the Flames hitless for 5 2/3 innings before finally giving up a two-out single in the sixth. He tossed seven scoreless innings in the start to put his first loss of the season ?- suffered last weeked at UCLA ?- behind him and lower his Pac-10-leading ERA 1.68 for the year. He finished the start with six strikeouts and no walks on a season-low 86 pitches.
The Wildcats closed out their non-conference slate with a three-game series sweep of visiting Liberty ... The sweep capped off Arizona’s non-conference record in the regular season at 25-6 ... The Cats opened the series with a bang, winning 16-2 on Friday and 16-3 on Saturday, before outlasting the Flames 7-6 in 10 innings on Sunday ... The three-game sweep improved Arizona’s home record to 24-2 at Kindall Field this season...
After struggling at the plate the last two weeks (UA had hit .192 in the seven games leading up to the Liberty series), Arizona busted out with a .419 team average (52 for 124) in the series with the Flames ... The weekend raised UA’s team average 10 points (from .298 to .308) ... The Cats finished the series with 12 doubles and a season series-high seven home runs ... As noted above T.J. Steele (.358, 7 HR, 42 RBI) battered the Liberty pitching staff to lead the Wildcats ... Steele and Brad Glenn hit back-to-back home runs on Saturday to mark the fourth time this season that Arizona has hit homers in consecutive at bats ... Steele’s two-homer game on Saturday was the fourth multi-homer game by a Wildcat this season ... Along with Steele’s outstanding weekend, a total of seven different players hit .385 or better ... True frosh Oliver Padre (.200, 0 HR, 4 RBI) took advantage of his first two career starts, collecting his first collegiate hit, a double on Saturday, and driving in the game-winning run in the 10th inning with a single on Sunday ... Sophomore Hunter Pace (.385, 0 HR, 3 RBI) made the most of his limited playing time going 2 for 3 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored, including the game-winner in Sunday’s 7-6, 10-inning victory ... Junior Colt Sedbrook (.333, 1 HR, 17 RBI) turned in a 10 for 16 (.625) weekend at the plate with a double, a RBI and a team-best six runs scored ... Senior Bill Rhinehart (.339, 8 HR, 41 RBI) went 6 for 13 (.462) with five RBI and three runs scored against the Flames and hit his career-high eighth homer of the year on Sunday ... C.J. Ziegler (6 for 15) and Robert Abel (4 for 10) both hit .400 for the weekend ... Ziegler (.337, 10 HR, 48 RBI) collected his second three-double game of the year on Friday to tie the single game school record, while Abel (.286, 0 HR, 21 RBI) scored five runs in the series sweep ... Not to be out-done, sophomore Brad Glenn (.358, 8 HR, 52 RBI) hit a pair of home runs in the series en route to a 5 for 13 weekend at the plate (.385). He finished with six RBI and six runs scored.
The Arizona pitching staff went 3-0 with a 3.54 team ERA in 28 innings of work ... The hurlers struck out 25 Liberty batters while issuing only five walks ... As noted above, ace Preston Guilmet (9-1, 1.68 ERA, 110 K) tossed seven shutout innings in a one-hit start on Friday ... He did not issue a walk while striking out six to raise his season total to 110 in 102 IP ... Left-hander Brad Mills (9-4, 3.70 ERA, 79 K) tied Guilmet for the team wins lead with 5 2/3 innings of work on Saturday. He allowed just three runs on seven hits to pick up his ninth W of the year. Mills struck out four and walked three ... Daniel Schlereth (2-0, 8 saves, 2.92 ERA, 38 K) picked up his second win of the year with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in Sunday’s 10-inning win ... Relievers Ryan Perry (0-1, 6.57 ERA, 24 K) and Jason Stoffel (4-0, 3 saves, 2.45 ERA 31 K) both turned in scoreless performances out of the bullpen.